Now that the Christian Porter defamation case has been dropped, there’s a great deal of speculation about why he has withdrawn his action.
Many people are wondering if it had something to do with the ABC’s defence brief, which is believed to have been very strong and on the verge of being made public in court.
Part of the agreement between the parties was that the suppressed defence brief be struck from the court file, but that deal is now being challenged by Channel 9 and Rupert Murdoch’s News Ltd., both of which are keen to see what new revelations are in the documents.
Only the ABC and Porter know at this stage.
Meanwhile, the article remains online, with an added statement expressing regret that some readers might have misunderstood the article as an accusation of guilt against Porter.
At a hearing yesterday (1 June 2021), Justice Jayne Jargot — judge in the Porter case — said there must be a reason to remove something from a court file, and wouldn’t be done purely because parties wanted it done.
Justice Jagot has ruled that a hearing on the matter will take place either later this month or in July.
There is now speculation that the case may reopen if the agreement between the parties breaks down.
Respected journalism academic Margaret Simons has written about the case in today’s 9 newspapers.
Margaret Simons writes:
Christian Porter has been spinning like a top, but nothing can obscure the fact that the settlement of his defamation action against the ABC is a victory for the public broadcaster, and a strategic withdrawal by him.